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[skal-uh-wag] /ˈskæl əˌwæg/
a scamp; rascal.
U.S. History. a native white Southerner who collaborated with the occupying forces during Reconstruction, often for personal gain.
Also, scallywag; especially British, scallawag.
Origin of scalawag
1840-50, Americanism; origin uncertain
Related forms
scalawaggery, noun
scalawaggy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scalawag
  • The evil ones are in power, as it was in the carpetbagger and scalawag days.
  • scalawag the talking parrot is a member of the band.
British Dictionary definitions for scalawag


a variant of scallywag
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for scalawag

also scallawag, "disreputable fellow," 1848, American English, originally in trade union jargon, of uncertain origin; perhaps an alteration (by influence of wag "habitual joker") of Scottish scallag "farm servant, rustic," itself an alteration of Scalloway, one of the Shetland Islands, wit the reference being to little Shetland ponies (An early recorded sense of scalawag was "undersized or worthless animal," 1854). In U.S. history, used from 1862 as a derogatory term for anti-Confederate native white Southerners.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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